iconimg Saturday, August 29, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 07, 2013
The family of slain BSP leader-cum-businessman Deepak Bhardwaj has been asked not to leave town even as more police teams scour eastern India for the alleged mastermind, police said on Sunday.

According to a senior officer investigating the case, police suspect the elusive 'Swamiji', who has now been identified as one Swami Pratibhanand, may have fled to Kolkata through a circuitous route.

"We have reasons to believe that Pratibhanand may have fled to Kolkata through Patna," said an officer. "He's making several pit-stops at ashrams and other such places on the way and was last sighted in Uttarakhand."

Apart from tracking his movement(s) through phone calls he has been making to his aides and associates from PCO booths along the way, police said they were now relying on making enquiries based on his physical description to catch him.

Meanwhile, police said they were yet to let Bhardwaj's family off the hook and have asked them not to leave the Capital for any purpose whatsoever, till investigations into the slain leader-cum-realtor's cold-blooded murder are complete. "Like it has been since the beginning, we are yet to give anyone, including the victim's family, a clean chit. They are being questioned about their possible involvement in the conspiracy on a routine basis," the officer said.

Police said they are also questioning some of Pratibhanand's female friends in addition to other associates based across northern India as part of their efforts aimed solely at tracking him. The richest candidate to have contested the Lok Sabha elections of 2009, Bhardwaj was gunned down by two contract killers, Sunil Mann and Purushottam Rana, at his Rajokri farmhouse on the morning of March 26.

As many as 200 people have been questioned about their involvement in the case and investigations are still on.